The Best View

Views from the Canyonlands Overlook, Canyon Rims Special Management Area, Utah
Views from the Canyonlands Overlook, Canyon Rims Special Management Area, Utah

A couple of months ago, I was blessed to visit Island in the Sky District of Canyonlands National Park.  It’s been a dream of mine for several years to visit the area again.  But standing on the edge of the cliffs, looking down on the Canyonlands far below, I couldn’t help but sing the words to a song that my sister had written a few weeks earlier:

It’s surreal to stand on a mountaintop
And watch eagles soar beneath me
Now I know what people mean
When they say, “A bird’s eye view.”
I turn around and look into Your face
Up here with You
Is the best view!

Views from Murphy Point, Canyonlands National Park, Utah
Views from Murphy Point, Canyonlands National Park, Utah

The birds below us were ravens, and we were on a cliff edge, not a mountaintop, but I still got the idea.  There’s something very different about a bird’s eye view from the view we get when we’re down there on the ground in the midst of the scenery.

Mussleman Arch along the White Rim Road, Canyonlands National Park, Utah
Mussleman Arch along the White Rim Road, Canyonlands National Park, Utah

I’d been down in that country before.  The White Rim Road winds its way across the flat land between the cliffs above to the mesa and the cliffs below that end at the Green and Colorado Rivers.  On the White Rim Road in the days before permits, we rattled our high-clearance, 2WD van down that road made for 4×4 jeeps.  It’s beautiful, but it’s not even remotely similar to the view you get from the rim, high above it all.

Near the Potash Road / White Rim Road junction, Canyonlands National Park, Utah
Near the Potash Road / White Rim Road junction, Canyonlands National Park, Utah

Sometimes God brings us up high above our circumstances so that we can see what He sees from above it all.  That view is often not even remotely similar to what we see when we’re down in and amongst the experience we call Life.  In the words of another songwriter,

I get caught up in all these petty things
Losing sight of what matters to You…
And then my feet came off the ground
You lifted me above the clouds
As I look down the whole world seems so small…*

Views from the Lathrop Overlook, Canyonlands National Park, Utah
Views from the Lathrop Overlook, Canyonlands National Park, Utah

From up high, we can see that the things we thought were huge and impenetrable are nothing more than small obstacles.  Small things disappear entirely.  Up high, we’re reoriented, we can see where we’ve come from and where we’re going; we realize the true size of the things that surround us and it puts our lives into perspective.

The Schaffer Trail, Canyonlands National Park, Utah
The Schaffer Trail, Canyonlands National Park, Utah

Up with God really is the Best View.  He sees it all; knows it all; and His perspective is what will guide us through even the craziest of situations.  Sometimes He brings us up to see the situation for ourselves with Him.  Sometimes He leaves us down, so to speak, on the White Rim Road but directs our paths.  Always, no matter where we are, He’s with us and never leaves us alone.

Monument Basin from the White Rim Overlook, Canyonlands National Park, Utah
Monument Basin from the White Rim Overlook, Canyonlands National Park, Utah

Still, I like to be up with Him from time to time and see His “Best View.”

*Jenn Johnson, “Gravity” from the album “After All These Years.”